This course is designed to give students a panorama of multilingual Italy with an emphasis on communicative practices that characterize contemporary Italian society and interactions between its members. The course adopts a view of language as a social practice and investigates language use from a broad range of social, cultural and historical contexts. Among the topics that will be discussed are the different roles and functions of standard Italian, popular Italian and dialects, the characteristics of varieties such as juvenile slang, the language of the media, the language of advertising and bureaucracy; the role of gestures in communication, linguistic sexism, language ideologies and some rules of conversation management used by Italians as contrasted to those typically relied on by American-English speakers. Students will discuss and analyze a variety of spoken, written, and visual texts and will be encouraged to compare and contrast their own experiences with those discussed in readings and class discussions. The diverse interests and experiences of participating students will be a major strength of this course.